Total Chimney Care's Blog

Spring chimney cleaning

Spring has sprung, and for many homeowners, that means deep cleaning the house. Is your chimney on your spring cleaning to-do list? While chimney sweeping is often associated with the fall, your chimney sweeping and inspection can be done at any time throughout the year. Here’s why you should consider scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection as part of your spring cleaning.

man with bucket on ladder looking into chimney

Clean away wintertime soot

Your chimney works overtime during the fall and winter. Come spring, it’s well filled with soot and creosote. Most homeowners worry about cleaning creosote away to prevent chimney fires in the fall. While that is important, soot and creosote can be corrosive and harsh on your chimney liner. Clearing it away in the spring not only removes flammable creosote. It also prevents soot from damaging your chimney all summer long.

Prevent foul chimney odors

It’s not just the damaging aspect of soot that can cause problems in your chimney during the summer. Creosote also can cause foul smells in the chimney that can enter your home and make the indoor atmosphere unpleasant on hot, humid summer days. Have your chimney swept in the spring to help prevent chimney odors in your home this summer.

Spot winter chimney damage

Winter is hard on your chimney. The moisture and freezing temperature can cause cracks to form and weaken the chimney’s masonry. Winter damage can bring about leaking chimney in the spring. A spring chimney inspection allows your chimney sweep to identify wintertime damage that could lead to damaging chimney leaks.

Leave time for repairs

Should your chimney inspection turn up signs of a chimney leak or chimney damage, a spring inspection leaves ample time for repairs. Spring and summer are the ideal seasons for chimney repairs, thanks to the warm, dry weather. And you won’t have to rush your chimney repairs to have them completed in time for fall fires.

Plan your improvements

Have you been thinking about chimney or fireplace improvements, but every fall, you set them aside in your haste to prepare your fireplace for the season? When you schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection in the spring, you can talk to your sweep about the possibility for hearth improvements. And you will have plenty of time to make those improvements before the fire-burning season.

Enjoy easier scheduling

Because most homeowners associate chimney sweeping with the fall, chimney sweeps’ schedules tend to be lighter in the spring and summer. That means that when you schedule your chimney sweeping during the spring, you will be able to make an appointment faster, and you will have more appointment times and dates available to you. With a spring sweeping, you can schedule an appointment that fits better into your schedule.

If you are undertaking your annual spring cleaning, don’t leave your chimney off of your spring cleaning to-do list. Call Total Chimney Care to schedule your appointment for a chimney cleaning and inspection. You will have an easier time scheduling an appointment, you’ll catch any signs of winter damage early and have time for repairs or improvements, and you will clear away damaging and stinky creosote from your chimney’s interior. Make your appointment now!

By Steve Sobczak on March 31st, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Relining Your Oil Flue

What kind of shape is your oil flue liner in? It’s something most homeowners don’t give much thought to. But oil flue liners take a lot of abuse, both from the heat of your furnace and from the acidic nature of the smoke being exhausted through your chimney. Whether from age or due to other factors, your oil flue might eventually require relining.

Why Oil Flues Need to be Relined

There are actually several reasons your oil flue might require a new liner. Some of the most common reasons oil flue liners need to be replaced include:

• Flaking chimney tiles. The soot and smoke generated by your oil furnace is highly acidic. Even if you have your oil flue swept and inspected every year as recommended, the soot and smoke your oil flue endures season after season will take its toll. The tiles within the oil flue will begin to break down and flake away. Once the flue liner degrades enough, the oil flue will need to be relined.

• Water damage. Nothing damages a chimney flue quite like water. If water has made its way into your oil flue, the tile liner can crack or crumble. Unchecked water intrusion into your oil furnace flue can lead to the need for a new chimney liner.

• Improperly sized liner. If you have a new oil furnace installed, it’s likely you’ll need to have your oil flue relined. That’s because today’s more efficient oil furnaces require small liners. In fact, today’s oil furnaces can require flues that are up to 60 percent smaller than traditional ones! To make sure your new oil furnace is properly exhausting, you will need to install an oil flue liner that’s the proper size for your new furnace.

• Missing flue liner. Believe it or not, many home builders or furnace installers will skip lining a chimney altogether. This is an extremely dangerous practice that can put your home at risk of a fire. If your oil furnace flue is missing a liner, you’ll need to have one installed to keep your home safe.

Oil Flue Relining Options

How you choose to reline your oil flue likely will depend on the reason for relining your oil furnace flue. A flue that’s breaking down due to time or water damage might be able to be relined with a specialized cerfractory cement that’s poured down the flue and smoothed into place to fill in any cracks or holes in the damaged masonry. If you’re missing a liner, if your existing liner is metal or if your oil furnace flue needs to be resized to fit a newer furnace, your sweep might recommend installing a stainless steel chimney liner to restore your oil flue furnace liner.

So how do you know if your oil furnace flue needs to be relined and which method for relining your oil flue is best? Call the experts, of course! The sweeps at Total Chimney Care can clean and inspect your oil furnace flue.  If you’re due for an oil flue relining, our sweeps will recommend and install the best oil flue liner for your furnace!

By Steve Sobczak on January 24th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Time to start planning for chimney repairs

For many homeowners, spring ushers in a season of home maintenance and improvements. If your chimney needs to be repaired, the start of spring means it is time to start planning for those repairs.

Here are some reasons spring is the time to plan for chimney repairs:

  • Better weather. Winter is no time for chimney repairs. A mason or chimney technician might be able to work out a wintertime repair in dire circumstances, but by far, spring’s warmer temperatures and drier weather makes it a better time for chimney repairs. That’s especially true for masonry repairs; masonry materials require warmer, drier weather for proper curing.
  • Easier scheduling. Most people light their last fire of the season and quickly put their fireplaces and chimneys out of their minds until late summer or early fall, when they begin to prepare for the next winter’s fires. That makes spring the perfect time for chimney repairs because chimney companies are less busy. That means they’ll be able to schedule your repairs quickly.
  • Wintertime chimney damage. Chimneys deal with a lot during the winter: high winds, wet weather, freezing temperatures and the extreme heat of your fireplace. That means that chimney’s face the potential for a lot of damage during the winter months. That makes spring the right time to damage winter chimney repairs, before the damage worsens or causes problems with your fireplace or your home’s structure.
  • Ample time for improvements. When you address chimney repairs or improvements in the spring, you have plenty of time to have your chimney fixed or upgraded between the next fire-burning season. By addressing your chimney repairs in the spring, you can weigh all of your chimney repair options and consider functional or aesthetic upgrades, which you might not do if you’re planning chimney repairs under the pressure of impending fall temperatures.

So how do you know if chimney repairs should be on your home maintenance list? Obviously, if your sweep told you during your fall sweeping and inspection that repairs were imminent, you will know to schedule your repairs this spring. But if your chimney faced damage during the winter months, you might not realize that repairs are in order. For that reason, spring can be a great time for a chimney sweeping and inspection. If you have your chimney inspected now, rather than in the fall, you can spot and address needed repairs quickly.

If you choose to wait until fall for your chimney sweeping and inspection, you should be on the lookout for signs of chimney damage. Look for cracks in your chimney’s masonry, crumbling bricks or mortar and discoloration on the chimney exterior. Make sure the chimney cap remains firmly in place, the crown is free from cracks and the flashing is corrosion free and snug against the chimney base. Inside your home, rust on fireplace part, cracks in the firebox masonry, chunks of tile inside the firebox or stains on the walls or chimney around the chimney can be signs of a chimney leak or interior chimney damage.

If you are in need of chimney repairs, or if you would like to have your chimney inspected to make sure it is damage free, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on April 10th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment